If your wheels are not balanced it can cause the steering wheel to shudder and even as far as a vibration through the vehicle from the wheels being unbalanced. A wheel balance will be done when new tyres are fitted to your wheels, but these weights can fall off over time and if regular wheel alignments are done, this can be picked up and sorted before it becomes a problem. Here is a short video explaining what happens with an unbalanced wheel and the process of how it is fixed.
Wheel alignment can have a drastic effect on the steering and suspension of your vehicle. Regular wheel alignments are essential in maintaining the overall condition of some of the major mechanical systems for your vehicle. A visual inspection of your tyres can determine whether an alignment is necessary, however sometimes little or no physical symptoms are observable. If your vehicle has begun to show signs of improper alignment, have it checked as soon as possible to prevent unsafe driving or unnecessary wear. I recommend that you have regular wheel alignments at least twice a year.
Refer to this video for a 2 minute video explanation. A more in depth explanation is found below.
The three top measures for adjustment are camber, caster and toe:
Camber refers to the angle of the wheels from vertical. A lean outward is a positive reading, and inward inclination is negative. Any positive camber or significant negative will cause accelerated wear on one side of the tyre tread. If the vehicle pulls toone side or the other while driving, this may indicate that the camber is out of alignment.
Caster refers to the angle as similar to the camber, but measured as either forward or backwards from the vertical as viewed from the side. Caster can cause problems with the direction of the vehicle but usually does not contribute to abnormal wear of tyres.
Toe is last. Toe alignment refers to where your tyres are pointed in relation to each other. So looking from the front of the vehicle, tow out is when your tyre/s are pointing away from each other. Tow in is obviously the opposite – facing in towards each other. Toe in and out alignment can cause your tyres to wear out very quickly and unnecessary feathering of the tyre.
Most drivers forget to rotate the tyres on there vehicle. Find out below why rotating your tyres is necessary, as well as the right and wrong ways to do it.
Why rotation is necessary
Let’s review quickly – Tread wear, in a front wheel drive vehicle, the front tyres will usually wear quicker on the front than on the rear. Same goes for a rear wheel drive vehicle; the rear tyres will wear quicker than the front. The reason why this happens is because of friction between rubber and pavement. Every time you drive your car, friction generates heat, which causes the tread wear. As a result, they become less sensitive which creates more resistance, which can affect your fuel efficiency and the wear and tear on your vehicle.
By rotating your tyres relieves the pressure created by the friction placed on the axle. Rotating your tyres allows you to prolong the life of tyres as long as possible.
The right (and wrong) Way To Rotate
The main rule of thumb for most makes and models is to rotate the front with the rear tyres, without changing sides. Meaning the rear passenger goes in the front of the passenger.
Many people make the mistake of spinning your tires in an “X”. For example, exchanging back front driver and passenger, and the rear of the front passenger and driver. Doing this, could be doing more harm than good because tread wears based on vehicle suspension system and alignment, but also on the type of tyre fitted to the vehicle – some tyres only rotate in one direction (they will have an arrow based on the way they need to be fitted).
Get your hands dirty
Although the rotation of the wheels is a relatively simple job, we can do it for you. Check your owner’s manual to be sure how often it should be done, but generally every 6 months or 10,000klms. If you are fully capable of doing it yourself, you’re vehicle should have all the equipment you need in the boot. It’s a dirty job and there is some heavy lifting involved, but you’ll save a few bucks and have the pleasure of knowing that you fixed it yourself!
Of all the maintenance needs of a vehicle, tyre rotation is a factor often overlooked but critical to extend the life of the tyres and the guarantee of a safe driving experience.
Tyres wear at different speeds
The front tyres of nearly all vehicles are punished much more than the back. When braking, turning, parking, etc front tyres wear with each turn of the wheel, especially in front-wheel drive vehicles where the front tyres provide initial power acceleration. Front tyres generally deteriorate faster than the rear tyres do hence why it is necessary to rotate the tyres. Since the rear tyres wear out more slowly, moving them to the front will match the wear of the tread and extend the life of the tyres.
We can arrange wheel balances, alignments and rotations at any time for you, but you can save your time by having it done at the same time as your vehicle servicing. Ask us when you book in for your next service to make sure your vehicle is safe and maintained.
Have a terrific Tuesday!